The candidates for German Chancellor from the CDU / CSU, SPD and the Greens – Armin Laschet, Olaf Scholz and Annalena Baerbock – faced the last television debate a week before the Bundestag elections. They discussed, inter alia, climate protection, social issues and the pandemic. Viewers pointed to Olaf Scholz from the SPD as the winner of the debate.
In just a week’s time, the Bundestag election will determine who has the best chance of assuming the office of chancellor. On Sunday evening, three candidates – Armin Laschet (Christian Democrat Union CDU / CSU), Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic SPD) and Annalena Baerbock (Green party) – conducted the last debate on the air of ProSieben, Sat.1 and Kabeleins stations. The Forsa Institute poll published after the discussion by politicians shows that, according to viewers, it was Olaf Scholz who won the pre-election clash. 42 percent of respondents named him the winner. He was followed by Armin Laschet (27%), followed by Annalena Baerbock (25%). Six percent of respondents said there was no favorite.
During the debate, the biggest differences emerged between the SPD and the Greens, on the one hand, and the CDU / CSU, on the other, when discussing social issues. The SPD’s candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Greens’ candidate Annelena Baerbock unanimously voted in favor of raising the statutory minimum wage to 12 euros. “There are ten million citizens who could benefit from this,” said Scholz. Baerbock drew attention to the situation of single parents, pointing out that they were the ones who found themselves in the “poverty trap”. Union candidate Armin Laschet also said people on the lowest incomes must have better conditions. However, he rejected the possibility of raising the minimum wage. – This is a task for parties to collective agreements – he stressed. Baerbock reiterated her call for a climate government. In her opinion, it is necessary to discontinue the use of internal combustion engines from 2030 and earlier withdrawal from the production of electricity from coal. “Now there are no half-measures when it comes to climate protection,” Baerbock said. Scholz stressed that German industry must become climate neutral in the next 25 years. Laschet believes that the scope of renewable energies should be extended through European cooperation.
Discussion about the pandemic and homeland security
All three were quite unanimous on the coronavirus pandemic. Scholz said it is impossible to set an end date for restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The vaccination rate is currently still too low to achieve this. Wearing the masks will probably be necessary for a while. He called on citizens to urgently undergo vaccinations. Laschet stressed that everything should be done to ensure the continuity of face-to-face teaching in schools. Keeping schools open in a pandemic is also a priority for Baerbock.
In terms of internal security, Laschet referred to the threat of Islamic and right-wing terrorism. He called for a tougher stance in the fight against clan crime and terrorism. Baerbock primarily referred to the increase in violence by right-wing extremists in Germany. In order to counteract this, the police should be strengthened. Scholz did not comment on this. The candidates were asked to say who they would definitely not form a coalition with after the elections, and they categorically ruled out coalition talks with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Scholz is ahead of the competition
In the survey of support for candidates for chancellor, SPD’s Olaf Scholz is clearly ahead of his competitors. According to a ZDF poll, 48 percent of voters would like him to become chancellor. 22 percent are in favor of Armin Laschet, and 15 percent in favor of Annalena Baerbock. Among the parties, the SPD leads the pre-election polls with a score of around 25 percent. CDU is behind with a loss of around 3-5 points. The Greens’ survey results oscillate around 15 percent. The elections to the German parliament will be held on September 26.
Main photo source: EPA / FILIP SINGER